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Scritch the Cat

Am I a failure if I don't finish the Genesis classics?

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Confession time: I have played all four of those games a fair amount.  However, the only one I've actually beaten is Sonic the Hedgehog, and not with all of the Chaos Emeralds, either. Since then, I've gone on to complete both Sonic Adventures, Sonic Heroes, Shadow the Hedgehog, Sonic 2006 (with great pain), and most of the Dimps games--the last of which, I'm a rather severe critic.  Like many people, I'm delighted by the prospect of Sonic Mania , seeing it as a genuine return to the good old days of Sonic, well-warranted after so many touted-but-not-really returns, and I figured now, in anticipation, would be the perfect time to back and play the classics.  I've gone back and played them (just two of them, so far), and it's reminded me of a big reason I didn't complete them before: Because they're hard!

Not only that, though, I think a big problem is they're hard for a lot of the wrong reasons.  I've certainly completed my fair share of games I considered hard, but in those cases, conquering the challenges was largely a matter of being skilled.  Far too often in Sonic 1 and 2--I haven't retried the others yet--I encounter challenges that seem like they require not skill, but memory to pass.  Slamming into spikes because I wasn't nimble enough to evade them when I saw them can be frustrating, but it's fair.  Slamming into them just because I didn't know they were just above a hill before I decided to spin-dash up it, is enraging.  What makes it even worse is the reward for learning where those hazards are, and keeping rings, is getting to visit special stages, which also take memory into account!  Then on top of all that, there's only a limited amount of chances to get into these special stages, and there's no level-selecting, saving, or retrying, so the presumed intent seems to be that gamers just play the games over and over again until they know them in and out so well they finally do it.  With the amount of irritation this is giving me right now, I must say that I'm not sure that's worth it to me.  I like Sonic.  I like many Sonic games, and some other Sonic media, and these are among the games I do, in fact, like...but I'm really worried that if I actually try to buckle down and complete these things, on their questionable terms, I'll have spent so long doing it that I grow to hate them, and want nothing more to do with Sonic as a whole for a long time.  In particular, feeling my attitude towards the music shift seeded that worry.  I like the soundtracks of these games; enough that I'll even listen to the songs on my computer while I do other things like my work.  That should have been an incentive to play the games, but in fact, having to spend the amount of time needed to learn to play these games well has forced me to listen to these songs so long that some of them have gotten unbearable; prompting me to turn them down and load YouTube videos on my phone instead.

Believe me; it pains me to say this sort of thing when a few too many critics now include these classic games on their ever-growing list of allegedly terrible Sonic games, but I really don't think they're a perfect act to follow as of now.  They're not terrible, of course; they're not even bad , but as someone who has spent a lot of his time arguing about how the Sonic series shouldn't be bastardized, I feel kind of pathetic experiencing its oft-touted gold standard and finding it wanting.  I don't hate these old Sonic games, but I hate that I don't love them; at least, not from what I've seen so far.

So I've got some questions.  Am I alone in this sentiment?  Am I a failure as a Sonic fan for thinking this?  Should I dare to live with the shame that comes of seeing Shadow the Hedgehog through but giving up on the classics?  Or alternately, does it get better?  That doesn't mean, do players get better, because I already feel myself getting better, but rather, is the exhilarating pride of finally being able to pull this stuff off fun enough to offset how sick I'll be of the games by that time?  Is there something I'm missing about the proper way to play these things?  Answer however you see fit.

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Of course not, no one's going to hold it against you if you didn't finish a bunch of games. Plenty of us have never finished different games and we're not any less of a fan for doing so. Really the only people who would hold it against you would be the super diehard hardcore fans, and those are generally a minority.

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For what this is worth, I never actually beat any of the Mario games on the NES, either--and I owned all three.  I've since beaten all of those games, in Game Boy ports that have save features added, so at this point I'm sure I'm good enough at them that I could go back and play them on the NES and complete them, but the haunting feeling remains, would I have just quit if I had instead gotten good at those games by constantly getting Game Overs and keeping at it?

Who knows?  But maybe this has something to do with why I was ultimately Team Nintendo in the console wars.  I did own a Genesis and Sonic 1; in fact, I owned them before I owned a SNES, but after Rareware made Donkey Kong Country, complete with a commercial that fired back at SEGA and Sonic, I got the SNES/DKC bundle for Christmas and never looked back.  The DKC games were, indeed, also fast platformers that tested reflexes, but I think what tilted the balance is that they actually had a save feature and level selects, and so I never was forced to replay so many things over and over again.  That means that I didn't get back into Sonic until SEGA exited the console market and Sonic games started coming out on Nintendo systems--after which, I actually became a big Sonic fan, but lo-and-behold, the Sonic games I actually completed had save features, and in many cases level selects.

So perhaps I was never cut out to be the sort of hardcore gamer with enough patience and dedication to finish games that lack save features and level-selects.  I don't mourn the near extinction of such games, and based on how behind the curve Sonic felt for not having these features in what was supposed to be their flagship against Super Mario World, which did, I'd even venture to say SEGA deserved to lose the console wars, but it still kind of stings to say such a thing in a place like this.

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Nah, don't call yourself a failure for simply not beating a bunch of games.

There are plenty of Sonic games and Video Games that I have never beaten, because I either didn't have the time or patience to do so, or I just simply never bothered or cared to.

Don't hate yourself because of something that is really very minor in the end of the day, if the Classic era is not your cup of tea, then that's cool, They are not for a lot of people here, so you're not the only one who thinks of that, and While I do think the Classic Games are absolutely phenomenal, I'm not gonna hate on or hold anything against you, just because you don't care for them, and the only people who really would is really just a minority of the massive fandom in the end. so at the end of the day, just enjoy what you like and don't let anyone tell you what you should like and what you shouldn't

Simple as that.

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Apologies for skimming your whole paragraph, but I feel I've read enough to see where your comming from, even if I personally have never had your problem.

Normally I just tell people "The Classic Sonic games aren't hard, get good lol" but like you said, you seem to be a bit less commited to actually beating them due to other reasons.

Let me cut to the chase here...how one improves on any video game is to play it over and over and over again. There are no exceptions to this, you will naturally get better by doing this and its logically the only way to go about it. (And yes this accounts memory stuff as well) If you go about it knowing ahead of time these games are a bit arcadey you should be fine. This whole situation of yours reminds me of something that happened back when I was a teen, let me elaborate on that...

 

A friend of mine was playing Super Mario Bros. on his DS, yes the original one. Now I've heard about this game (of course) and seen screenshots of it, but I'd never actually seen it in action or played it. Needless to say I was hooked on it really fast, I quickly attempted to play it on emulator and...you can see where this goes, I got a bit aggetated that I had a limited number of lives and had to start over every single time.

One day my friend asked me "Hey how are you enjoying that Mario game?" and I responded:

"Oh its okay...I just keep dying over and over and I keep having to start over so it kinda sucks in that regard."

Then he told me true words to live by "Your not hardcore enough!"

At this moment something in me turned on, I had to prove him wrong and beat this game. From there I spent the next 48 hours straight grinding the game until I eventually won, every part of the journey was memorable as it could be. I was estatic as all heck when I finally got by that last hammer bro and grabbed the axe at the end! I finally did it, and it felt good too!

 

Now obviously that whole situation might not apply to you directly, but I do want you to consider this...

The fact you have to start over everytime you run out of lives in a Sonic game is the games way of punishing you for sucking too much. With unlimited lives these games would be butt easy, the reward for beating them would feel lackluster would it not? Best way to go about it is to actively dedicate more time to playing these games in one session.

Like...the next time you try and beat Sonic 2, don't just put aside 2 hours, put aside 6 or even 8. Really milk that sense of improvement on yourself!

I recently did a 100% Classic sonic marathon so I can attest playing these games this way is actually more rewarding. The first time you play the games you can take your time and explore the levels, if you manage not to get all the emeralds or get a game over IMMEDIATELY try again and this time you'll naturally go through the levels faster! You'll automatically feel a sense of reward before you even beat the game! To put it simply, its not about winning but improving your skill as a player!

Oh gosh...I'm sounding a lot like Geek Critique in his sonic 2 review...I'll link it here actually, he puts what I'm trying to say a lot better than I'm saying it!

Anyways...

Even during that whole Super Mario Bros. nonsense I had going on, I had a harder game that was keeping my time, that game being I Wanna Be The Guy! (and Fangame and Boshy by extension...)

Slightly off topic but what "hard games" would you say you play/have mastered a lot of or that your good at? I ask cause I want a frame of refrence for what you consider a "hard game" it would help me see where your coming from better. For me, IWBTG taught me to the ancient art of patience in video games (albeit very harshly but it got the job done), I personally would reccomend I Wanna Be The Fangame if you want to get patience for harder/more arcadey platformers! : D

Alternatevely, you might just not be motivated to beat the Classic Sonic games, and yeah that happens I guess, ironically I don't play a lot of Megaman because they feel like IWBTG rip-offs to me even though that isn't the case! Then again, you did beat all those 3D sonic games so motivation might not be the problem...hmm?!

...Oh and to answer your question yes you are a failure cause you failed to beat the Classic sonic games! Who hasn't beaten those games...ya freaking noob! : P

 

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Do not worry, you are not a failure. The games can be really hard, and while players are going to have differing opinions on that matter, I think it comes down to each player and their place in the world of games, particularly Sonic the Hedgehog. You can be the ultra-swift cannonball speeding through the level with no trouble, you can be the casual hedgehog barely avoiding death traps and more carefully explores the level, or you can be the one currently not enjoying a game in particular for any reason and move onto other games in the series. We are all fans of the same hero and games, even if we personally did not play or finish certain games in the series.

You played a variety of Sonic games, finished some even. If you still like Sonic after that, then you can never be a failure.

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When I was a child, I didn't have any actual gaming consoles, just a PC, so the only classic Sonic games I played were the ones that came to PC - specifically, Sonic CD, and Sonic 3 & Knuckles.  Years later, via the Sonic Classic Collection on the DS, I finally got the chance to play Sonic 1 and 2.  Never beat them.  I think it was Labyrinth Zone and Wing Fortress Zone that got in my way.  Now, could I have beat them, if I spent more time on them?  I don't doubt it.  But something else interesting will have come along, something that felt more worthwhile than grinding away at zones I wasn't enjoying.

The gaming landscape has changed.  Often, our personal circumstances have changed.  We may have better things to do, or not enough time, for it to be worth it to try and finish a game we aren't enjoying.  We also are not obliged to claim that classic games were perfect, or that being difficult made them good.

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It's a sign of the times. When I bought my Mega Drive, I could have a new game every 4-5 months more or less (I might get more games if I saved enough money and found some really good deal). I had only ONE game for the next 4-5 months, so I'd play it hundreds of times. Of course I'd finish that. Of course I'd never surrender. If I surrendered, I couldn't play anything else! XDD

The only game I actually stopped playing, then asking my parents to please buy me another one, was Dynamite Headdy. It was incredibly difficult, and by the time I reached the final boss (Dark Demon) for the first time, after passing through 2 or 3 incredibly difficult stages, I found myself with probably the game's biggest challenge (that Dark Demon dude was T-O-U-G-H). I failed, of course, and had to start all over again. I got tired.

I left the game for 5 months until I knew the level select cheat code. Then I finally learnt how to kill Dark Demon, so I tried finishing the game from the beginning. Why? Lol. Because after Dynamite Headdy's credits you can access ANOTHER final boss, but only if you have the 4 secret numbers collected throughout the game.

And once I was able to finish the whole game (bonus hidden boss included), I fell in love with the game forever. It was the hardest game I ever played, but I finished it, and after all the suffering I realized I was playing an incredibly awesome game: original, fun, great graphics, great music... just really difficult (not that hard in the Japanese version, btw). Now I can easily finish the game in an hour or two.

Currently, we can have a new game almost whenever we want to. If you get tired of a game, then f**k it! You can play another one! So it's plain that people that plays Sonic 1 or Sonic 2 in the last 10 years, don't finish it once they get blocked.

 

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3 hours ago, Scritch the Cat said:

Then on top of all that, there's only a limited amount of chances to get into these special stages, and there's no level-selecting, saving, or retrying, so the presumed intent seems to be that gamers just play the games over and over again until they know them in and out so well they finally do it.

This is the main thing here that has changed with the times.  Older games were still being designed as if they were meant to be played at an Arcade, since that's all people knew.  Nowadays we are more forgiving and generally speaking let everyone have more of a chance to experience the full game's content.

But this does make me question what format you're playing these games in?  I would recommend the mobile versions or 3DS 3D Classics versions of Sonic 1 and 2, since both games allow you to save your game after every single act.  The 3D Classics ones even provide a free-to-use stage select screen from the off if you want to call it quits on a level you just aren't having fun with anymore and move onto the next, and Sonic 2 in particular includes a mode that lets you start every life with 10 rings.  They're just overall better editions of the games than the originals too.

 

The thing about the classic games is a lot of the things you call cheap memory tests CAN be predicted in advance as you get more into the groove of the game and start recognising patterns in the level design... it's a hard thing to put a finger on but it's why people praise the design of the games.  Of course they're still far from perfect - still plenty of bona-fide cheap moments along the way too, especially in Sonic 2 I feel.

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Nah, nobody is ever truly a loser about whether or not you finish a game or not unlessyou'relikemewho100%RiseofLyric4timesthenyou'rearealloser

I mean, I remember playing through Sonic 2 for the first time and it took me forever to get the 7th Emerald... at Wing Fortress Zone. Now I can easily get all 7 Emeralds in Emerald Hill alone. That's the thing with the Classic titles, there's a subtle learning curve to the games. You're going to fumble a lot with them but if you're dedicated enough to master the controls, understand the level designs and enemy patterns, then you too can beat the Death Egg Robot with dying once!

So yeah, don't feel bummed out my dood.

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I don't even play the classics to beat them. I just play them to have fun and pass time. Never completed them once. Closest I ever got on 3D Classics Sonic 2 was Wing Fortress, and I can't even remember where I've got to on 3D Classics Sonic 1 [though I have a save somewhere near the fifth zone on the mobile version].

Just because you don't complete something doesn't make you a failure. I've hardly ever completed most of the games I've got, since I don't see completion as the final goal.

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Nope, you're not a failure. It took me 16 years to complete Sonic 1 and only beaten 3&K, not completed it. I still haven't beaten Sonic 2 on the Master System. Some people have different skill levels with some that can do games towards the point of technically speedrunning while others are struggling through the game and might not even beat the game. There are some games that I had to quit because I struggled too much (Battlefield 2, Hour of Victory, Taz Escape from Mars and Quantum Theory to name among others). Besides if you want to save on Sonic 1 some of the later versions have the ability to save after each level (I think Sonic Jam and the Taxman mobile ports do this) and Sonic Jam has got an easy mode.

The classic games were harder and I can completely understand for the younger players to struggle with those games. Most games are about timing, memory and skill with some games you need to be good at all 3. Oh and you mention no level selects? Well Sonic 1 and 2 (on the original versions) thankfully do have easy to perform and remember cheats to get the level selects, one on the title screen (Up, down, left, right, A) and the other is remembering a sound test combo via the Options (19, 65, 9, 17). You can even test the Special Stages in Sonic 1 too by going to the level select and enter it, reset the game and then do the code again as each time it resets a different special stage is generated. It should be a little bit of help.

As for your comments later on, it's due to the arcade style that Sega among Capcom, Konami and Namco excelled in as well as in that era, people who played games were usually more technical minded with people who grew up around computers or kids who had plenty of time to practice. Many games were pretty short, not even an hour long so to prevent people taking back games in that era or making as much money in the arcades, they made them harder sometimes even between Japanese, American and European versions of the same game. Sometimes too hard though and that has actually happened. Also there were cartridge costs as well to factor, games that had the ability to save or more than 1MB were more expensive to make, the reason why Sonic 3 complete got cancelled because it was too much for a 4MB game with a save and why Sonic & Knuckles didn't have a save. Games like Donkey Kong Country as well as RPGs were the exception rather than the norm and even then saving as a standard didn't fully come into it until the late 90s or mid 00s for handhelds, even then usually you had to buy a memory card even for some N64 games. Funnily enough Sonic 1 got some flak from reviewers for being too easy because they were used to playing harder games and because of the ring mechanic, many platformers were 3 hits and then Game Over back to the beginning of the game.

Also your comment about Sega deserving to lose the console wars is very strong and even sounds a bit fanish considering that the Mega Drive, SNES and PC Engine all had great games. There are consoles with much harder libraries such as the Atari era (well games that can be completeable), a lot of NES games including the Super Mario Bros games and the European home computers can give some of those a field day in terms of difficulty (ZX Spectrum, Commodore 64, Amstrad CPC). Many people struggle with the original Zelda game, people struggle with Metroid but it got a more accessible remake, people struggle with Punch-Out (sometimes for that it is due to input lag but also skill as well despite most of the boxers have got patterns) and not many NES games had the ability to save, usually password save if there was an option. Even in terms of the Genesis there were harder games as well.

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1 hour ago, DarkRula said:

I don't even play the classics to beat them. I just play them to have fun and pass time. Never completed them once. Closest I ever got on 3D Classics Sonic 2 was Wing Fortress, and I can't even remember where I've got to on 3D Classics Sonic 1 [though I have a save somewhere near the fifth zone on the mobile version].

Just because you don't complete something doesn't make you a failure. I've hardly ever completed most of the games I've got, since I don't see completion as the final goal.

I do like finishing the a whole classic Sonic game in an evening from time to time. Last week I did it with Sonic 2 and Sonic 3&K. One of the things I enjoy the most is taking the path I don't usually take. There's nothing new to discover, but still it feels a little fresh somehow XD

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I'm pretty much in the same boat. The only classic game I've finished is Sonic 2. Even then, I only beat Death Egg by save scumming on the PC version. Never gotten all the Chaos Emeralds, either. Most I've gotten is 4.

Idk what it is, but I can't really get into any of the other classic games, either. I've gotten pretty good at Sonic 2, but Sonic 1 just feels frustrating at times (more bottomless pits, spikes are guaranteed instakill, f*cking Marble Zone). S3&K I always get bored shortly after Hydro City.

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Don't worry. I don't have too much original games, but certainly, Sonic is my favorite series, and as you can see, this is a Sonic Message Board and I always try to know all the news.

In fact, what you described can take to a complex situation. You said that you played and finished the Adventure era games, and this is good, may you be an specific type of Sonic Gamer that likes the Adventure/Modern era, and you aren't an exception, this is very common in Sonic Fan base.

Other interesting point it's the game difficult. You said you tried to play the games but never finished. If the difficult is your problem, try to play and replay the game until you finish. If your problem is in a specific part of the game, all games from Classic Era have an Level Select Menu, search on the web how to access it, and try to replay the level you can't pass. May the game requires training, it's not impossible to finish it.

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Only if you quit. And even then, you're only a failure at finishing the Genesis classics. Nothing else.

(Unless it's something layered, I guess, like completing every first-party SEGA Genesis game, or something weird like that.)

They say practice makes perfect, but while that may be true, I can get through most of the main four Genesis games with little problem. Some areas do give me some trouble from time to time. Heck, I've beaten Sonic 1 more times than I can remember, but the Labyrinth Zone and its final-stage cousin still give me trouble -- sometimes to a Game Over. There are good days and bad.

And don't even get me started on the Chaos Emeralds. The only way I've been able to enjoy Super Sonic and friends is by a code or, in the case of Sonic 3 & Knuckles, having a friend get them for me.

I am not looking forward to trying to get those in Sonic Mania, especially if they hide a true ending.

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I grew up with the classic games (Got Sonic 1 when I was 9) so I learnt to play them and now they're not difficult to me, I can complete them in a breeze.

But I can see why they can be seen as difficult to other players who aren't used to them.

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Of course you're not a failure for not finishing a video game, man. Shit gets heated around here sometimes but in the end it's just video games.

That said, I'm a little surprised you're having this much trouble with them. I'll admit my perspective is skewed by years of playing these games, but outside of a few places I've never considered them to be particularly hard games. Rings are an incredibly generous health system and instant death is generally pretty rare. The penalty for messing up is usually just being slowed down or dropping to a lesser route. If you don't know the games well you're bound to take a good few bumps and bruises along the way, but you should be able to stumble through most of them without precognition or expert level skill.

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2 hours ago, Nepenthe said:

I feel we as a fandom have taken a horribly wrong turn somewhere if people think that there's something wrong with them for not finishing the classic games. No video game is obligated to be completed.

Yeah.  It just means you're not a true  Sonic fan.

Seriously, though, it's just hedgehogs.  No big deal either way.

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13 hours ago, BlueBlur91 said:

Nah, don't call yourself a failure for simply not beating a bunch of games.

There are plenty of Sonic games and Video Games that I have never beaten, because I either didn't have the time or patience to do so, or I just simply never bothered or cared to.

Don't hate yourself because of something that is really very minor in the end of the day, if the Classic era is not your cup of tea, then that's cool, They are not for a lot of people here, so you're not the only one who thinks of that, and While I do think the Classic Games are absolutely phenomenal, I'm not gonna hate on or hold anything against you, just because you don't care for them, and the only people who really would is really just a minority of the massive fandom in the end. so at the end of the day, just enjoy what you like and don't let anyone tell you what you should like and what you shouldn't

Simple as that.

Classic Sonic is my cup of tea, in that I prefer more exploration and more challenge to getting up speed, and don't like how boost-heavy, linear, and relatively obstacle-free modern Sonic is.  It's the limited continues and lack of ability to play stages at the rate you choose that I deplore.

 

12 hours ago, Alienrun said:

Apologies for skimming your whole paragraph, but I feel I've read enough to see where your comming from, even if I personally have never had your problem.

Normally I just tell people "The Classic Sonic games aren't hard, get good lol" but like you said, you seem to be a bit less commited to actually beating them due to other reasons.

Let me cut to the chase here...how one improves on any video game is to play it over and over and over again. There are no exceptions to this, you will naturally get better by doing this and its logically the only way to go about it. (And yes this accounts memory stuff as well) If you go about it knowing ahead of time these games are a bit arcadey you should be fine. This whole situation of yours reminds me of something that happened back when I was a teen, let me elaborate on that...

 

A friend of mine was playing Super Mario Bros. on his DS, yes the original one. Now I've heard about this game (of course) and seen screenshots of it, but I'd never actually seen it in action or played it. Needless to say I was hooked on it really fast, I quickly attempted to play it on emulator and...you can see where this goes, I got a bit aggetated that I had a limited number of lives and had to start over every single time.

One day my friend asked me "Hey how are you enjoying that Mario game?" and I responded:

"Oh its okay...I just keep dying over and over and I keep having to start over so it kinda sucks in that regard."

Then he told me true words to live by "Your not hardcore enough!"

At this moment something in me turned on, I had to prove him wrong and beat this game. From there I spent the next 48 hours straight grinding the game until I eventually won, every part of the journey was memorable as it could be. I was estatic as all heck when I finally got by that last hammer bro and grabbed the axe at the end! I finally did it, and it felt good too!

 

Now obviously that whole situation might not apply to you directly, but I do want you to consider this...

The fact you have to start over everytime you run out of lives in a Sonic game is the games way of punishing you for sucking too much. With unlimited lives these games would be butt easy, the reward for beating them would feel lackluster would it not? Best way to go about it is to actively dedicate more time to playing these games in one session.

Like...the next time you try and beat Sonic 2, don't just put aside 2 hours, put aside 6 or even 8. Really milk that sense of improvement on yourself!

I recently did a 100% Classic sonic marathon so I can attest playing these games this way is actually more rewarding. The first time you play the games you can take your time and explore the levels, if you manage not to get all the emeralds or get a game over IMMEDIATELY try again and this time you'll naturally go through the levels faster! You'll automatically feel a sense of reward before you even beat the game! To put it simply, its not about winning but improving your skill as a player!

Oh gosh...I'm sounding a lot like Geek Critique in his sonic 2 review...I'll link it here actually, he puts what I'm trying to say a lot better than I'm saying it!

Anyways...

Even during that whole Super Mario Bros. nonsense I had going on, I had a harder game that was keeping my time, that game being I Wanna Be The Guy! (and Fangame and Boshy by extension...)

Slightly off topic but what "hard games" would you say you play/have mastered a lot of or that your good at? I ask cause I want a frame of refrence for what you consider a "hard game" it would help me see where your coming from better. For me, IWBTG taught me to the ancient art of patience in video games (albeit very harshly but it got the job done), I personally would reccomend I Wanna Be The Fangame if you want to get patience for harder/more arcadey platformers! : D

Alternatevely, you might just not be motivated to beat the Classic Sonic games, and yeah that happens I guess, ironically I don't play a lot of Megaman because they feel like IWBTG rip-offs to me even though that isn't the case! Then again, you did beat all those 3D sonic games so motivation might not be the problem...hmm?!

...Oh and to answer your question yes you are a failure cause you failed to beat the Classic sonic games! Who hasn't beaten those games...ya freaking noob! : P

 

While I don't know how hard it's considered in the grand scheme, the game series I remember having a hard time with at the start, and ultimately sticking with so long that I developed an incredible muscle memory to the point they became almost boringly easy, was the Donkey Kong Country series.  I said that once it debuted as Nintendo's answer to Sonic, I never looked back, and here, again, is why I think that is: Unlimited continues, an overworld, and ability to play stages at the rate I chose--oh, and actual depth.  See; it's not hard stages that I have a problem with, and it's not playing a hard stage again and again until I master it that I have a problem with.  What I have a problem with is games punishing me for failing hard stages by forcing me to replay earlier stages I already mastered before I can go back to mastering the new hard stage.  Since I already mastered the earlier stages, that's not actually adding any challenge; it's just adding length in an obnoxious, dated way, and I'm not sure why I should tolerate games that do that when games like Donkey Kong Country add length by actually having more content, so even with the ability to save and retry infinitely, and evade Game Overs by farming lives by replaying easy levels, they take longer to beat than the Sonic games.  The Special Stages follow the same pattern: In Sonic games, getting into them is limited by the amount of regular levels that exist and the the increasing difficulty; DKC's special stages can be accessed at your own rate because you can reenter normal stages to enter the connected special stages, and obtain the coins. (Which were those games' counterpart to Chaos Emeralds).

So if you're wondering why I actually felt motivated to persevere through the 3D Sonic games, despite their flaws, the reason is the same.  Let's be clear: There's no level I've found in the Classic games close to as heinous as Security Hall, which I still am convinced is impossible to beat until the emeralds actually randomly spawn close to Rouge...but at least Sonic Adventure 2 let me keep playing just Security Hall, failure after failure, until I succeeded, and after that I never had to touch it again. (No, I never bothered to go back and get A-ranks or do all the other missions, and I never plan to, either.)  So while no level in the Genesis classics is by default anywhere near as bad, the haunting question for me is, do I really want to play these levels so much that I end up hating them just as much as I hate Security Hall?  I still don't know.

11 hours ago, FFWF said:

When I was a child, I didn't have any actual gaming consoles, just a PC, so the only classic Sonic games I played were the ones that came to PC - specifically, Sonic CD, and Sonic 3 & Knuckles.  Years later, via the Sonic Classic Collection on the DS, I finally got the chance to play Sonic 1 and 2.  Never beat them.  I think it was Labyrinth Zone and Wing Fortress Zone that got in my way.  Now, could I have beat them, if I spent more time on them?  I don't doubt it.  But something else interesting will have come along, something that felt more worthwhile than grinding away at zones I wasn't enjoying.

The gaming landscape has changed.  Often, our personal circumstances have changed.  We may have better things to do, or not enough time, for it to be worth it to try and finish a game we aren't enjoying.  We also are not obliged to claim that classic games were perfect, or that being difficult made them good.

In this case I'd say being difficult in and of itself makes the games better, since my thoughts on the Dimps games is that they're too easy.  Actually, I have multiple criticisms, but the ability to speed through them hitting nary an obstacle is a big one.  I still have little patience for having to redo things I've outgrown, though.

10 hours ago, JezMM said:

This is the main thing here that has changed with the times.  Older games were still being designed as if they were meant to be played at an Arcade, since that's all people knew.  Nowadays we are more forgiving and generally speaking let everyone have more of a chance to experience the full game's content.

But this does make me question what format you're playing these games in?  I would recommend the mobile versions or 3DS 3D Classics versions of Sonic 1 and 2, since both games allow you to save your game after every single act.  The 3D Classics ones even provide a free-to-use stage select screen from the off if you want to call it quits on a level you just aren't having fun with anymore and move onto the next, and Sonic 2 in particular includes a mode that lets you start every life with 10 rings.  They're just overall better editions of the games than the originals too.

 

The thing about the classic games is a lot of the things you call cheap memory tests CAN be predicted in advance as you get more into the groove of the game and start recognising patterns in the level design... it's a hard thing to put a finger on but it's why people praise the design of the games.  Of course they're still far from perfect - still plenty of bona-fide cheap moments along the way too, especially in Sonic 2 I feel.

I'm playing Gamecube emulations of the original Genesis ROMs on Sonic Mega Collection, and having tried Sonic 2 again this morning, I'm starting to think the "cheap moments" might be less a case of bad level design, and more of a glaring technical flaw.  Put simply, this game's camera is too slow for Sonic.  Not during most cases, sure, but it frequently can't keep up with Sonic when he accelerates and moves vertically, and it's precisely these points where shit like spiked ceilings is thrown in, and Sonic hits them literally before I've seen them.  I don't know if this problem is with the SEGA Genesis, the Nintendo Gamecube, the Nintendo Gamecube using a bad SEGA Genesis emulator, or that emulator using a bad ROM, but the problem's definitely there, it's enraging, and I would definitely consider buying one of those other versions of the game if they don't have that problem.

9 hours ago, King Koopone said:

Nope, you're not a failure. It took me 16 years to complete Sonic 1 and only beaten 3&K, not completed it. I still haven't beaten Sonic 2 on the Master System. Some people have different skill levels with some that can do games towards the point of technically speedrunning while others are struggling through the game and might not even beat the game. There are some games that I had to quit because I struggled too much (Battlefield 2, Hour of Victory, Taz Escape from Mars and Quantum Theory to name among others). Besides if you want to save on Sonic 1 some of the later versions have the ability to save after each level (I think Sonic Jam and the Taxman mobile ports do this) and Sonic Jam has got an easy mode.

The classic games were harder and I can completely understand for the younger players to struggle with those games. Most games are about timing, memory and skill with some games you need to be good at all 3. Oh and you mention no level selects? Well Sonic 1 and 2 (on the original versions) thankfully do have easy to perform and remember cheats to get the level selects, one on the title screen (Up, down, left, right, A) and the other is remembering a sound test combo via the Options (19, 65, 9, 17). You can even test the Special Stages in Sonic 1 too by going to the level select and enter it, reset the game and then do the code again as each time it resets a different special stage is generated. It should be a little bit of help.

As for your comments later on, it's due to the arcade style that Sega among Capcom, Konami and Namco excelled in as well as in that era, people who played games were usually more technical minded with people who grew up around computers or kids who had plenty of time to practice. Many games were pretty short, not even an hour long so to prevent people taking back games in that era or making as much money in the arcades, they made them harder sometimes even between Japanese, American and European versions of the same game. Sometimes too hard though and that has actually happened. Also there were cartridge costs as well to factor, games that had the ability to save or more than 1MB were more expensive to make, the reason why Sonic 3 complete got cancelled because it was too much for a 4MB game with a save and why Sonic & Knuckles didn't have a save. Games like Donkey Kong Country as well as RPGs were the exception rather than the norm and even then saving as a standard didn't fully come into it until the late 90s or mid 00s for handhelds, even then usually you had to buy a memory card even for some N64 games. Funnily enough Sonic 1 got some flak from reviewers for being too easy because they were used to playing harder games and because of the ring mechanic, many platformers were 3 hits and then Game Over back to the beginning of the game.

Also your comment about Sega deserving to lose the console wars is very strong and even sounds a bit fanish considering that the Mega Drive, SNES and PC Engine all had great games. There are consoles with much harder libraries such as the Atari era (well games that can be completeable), a lot of NES games including the Super Mario Bros games and the European home computers can give some of those a field day in terms of difficulty (ZX Spectrum, Commodore 64, Amstrad CPC). Many people struggle with the original Zelda game, people struggle with Metroid but it got a more accessible remake, people struggle with Punch-Out (sometimes for that it is due to input lag but also skill as well despite most of the boxers have got patterns) and not many NES games had the ability to save, usually password save if there was an option. Even in terms of the Genesis there were harder games as well.

Addressed in order, I'm aware that the Genesis Sonic games had level selects, but they didn't have the ability to replay levels with progress carried over, meaning if you used a level select you would sacrifice a lot of chance to get the Chaos Emeralds and extra lives.  What these games had was in essence a cheat that let you unlock levels before you earned them, but they had nothing like Super Mario World's ability to carry over progress.

So that brings us to your points about Super Mario World and Donkey Kong Country being exceptions for having game saves (three, in fact), and also my contentious statement that SEGA deserved to lose the console war.  Yes; those games might have been exceptional in their time, but by the same token, it made them ahead of their time.  This is a big part of why SEGA rubbed me the wrong way, but very far from the only one. 

I'll give SEGA their due, while it always feels a little bit cringe-worthy when a corporation tries to style its business ventures as edgy rebellions punching up at power, there was some truth to it back then, in that monopolies inevitably become oppressive, Nintendo had nearly attained a monopoly in the game market, and SEGA was doing the industry a good service by challenging that hegemony.  However, in many cases they fought their battle less with hard work and more with cherry-picked, insult-laden rhetoric.  SEGA Genesis was inferior to SNES in every way other than its processor, so of course they harped on and on about their processor and played up games that used it; notably Sonic games.  Then there was the infamous Sonic the Hedgehog Vs Super Mario World commercial.  This, too, is apparently based on true events; apparently SEGA actually had placed the games side by side, and people thought Sonic better at a glance.  I'll even grant that yes; Sonic the Hedgehog is a much prettier game, but it's also short and devoid of saves, while once again, Super Mario World was ahead of its time in that regard.  SEGA was behind the times, and that it got as far as it did was, again, due to cherry-picking and insults, insults, insults galore against Nintendo.  They may have been functioning as rebels in the economic sense, and maybe the developers themselves even saw themselves as such, but SEGA's advertising made them look more like sleazy politicians who already held power and were willing to bully their opponents to death.  The shit-stirring they did about how uncool Nintendo was got so bad that I remember Sony and Microsoft fanboys picking up that rhetoric even after SEGA started dying off.  Ironically, it ended up being Sony and Microsoft that knocked SEGA out of the console business far more than Nintendo did, and I consider it poetic justice; having spent their console career relying more on playing up how edgy they were compared to Nintendo, instead of actually making powerful consoles, SEGA fell victim to companies that both played up their edge and made powerful consoles.

Then, and only then, once SEGA started releasing Sonic games on Nintendo platforms, did I feel like I could finally like Sonic again without giving credence to the attitudes of hypermasculine school bullies that belittled me for liking Nintendo, and I'm guessing many Nintendo players felt the same way--multiple Sonic games got to the Players' Choice list on Gamecube.  Still, looking back on where Sonic and SEGA were in the console wars, I don't regret siding with Nintendo back then.

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